Simone Biles soars to AP Female Athlete of the Year In this Aug. 9, 2016 file photo, United States' Simone Biles performs on the balance beam during the artistic gymnastics women's team final at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Biles was selected as the AP Female Athlete of the Year, on Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell/Dmitri Lovetsky, FIle)
Simone Biles soars to AP Female Athlete of the Year
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Simone Biles tried to treat the 2016 Summer Olympics like just your average ordinary gymnastics meet. So what if the stage and the stakes were different?
 
The floor was still the floor. The vault still the vault. The uneven bars still uneven. The balance beam still a four-inch wide test of nerves.
 
And the 19-year-old with the electric smile and boundless talent was still the best in the world. Maybe the best of all-time.
 
Over the course of 10 days in August, the biggest meet of her life ended like pretty much all the others in the four years that came before it. Biles was standing atop the podium, a gold medal around her neck and the sport she's redefining one boundary-pushing routine at a time was staring up at her. Not that she remembers any of it.
 
"It's kind of a blur," Biles said.
 
Maybe to Biles, but not to the rest of the world. Her massive haul in Rio de Janeiro - a record-tying four golds to go along with a bronze for the dominant U.S. women's team - propelled her to stardom and rendered her last name unnecessary. Most fans just call her Simone. Now there's one more honor to add to what on Twitter is known simply as #SimoneThings: Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
 
In a vote by U.S. editors and news directors, Biles received 31 votes out of a possible 59. U.S. Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, who won four golds and a silver in Rio, finished second with 20. Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon for the seventh time to tie Steffi Graf's record of 22 Grand Slam titles, and three-time AP women's NCAA basketball Player of the Year Breanna Stewart tied for third with four votes each.
 
Biles became the fifth gymnast to win the honor. She joins Olga Korbut in 1972, Nadia Comaneci in 1976, Mary Lou Retton in 1984 and Gabby Douglas in 2012. It's company Biles joined while completing a run of dominance that included three straight all-around World Championships. It was an unprecedented run at the top in a sport where peaks are often measured in months, not years.
 
The teenager from Spring, Texas, hardly seemed burdened by the outsized expectations. If anything, she embraced them. She opted out of a verbal commitment to compete collegiately at UCLA to turn professional. It allowed her to could cash in on the profitable opportunities afforded an Olympic champion. The decision to turn pro was a bit of a gamble considering the window is so narrow and directly tied to success at the Games.
 
Yet Biles seemed immune to it. At least on the outside. Inside, there were more than a few butterflies when she stepped onto the floor during team preliminaries on Aug. 7. They vanished the moment she stepped onto the green and cream colored floor at Rio Olympic Arena. Then she and the rest of her "Final Five" teammates - Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez and Madison Kocian - put on a clinic. They showcased how substantial the gap between the Americans and the rest of the world has grown.
 
Then again, the gulf between Biles and every other gymnast on the planet - even her good friends in red, white and blue - may be even wider.
 
"In prelims, I did very well. I kind of shocked myself," Biles said. "I came in thinking, 'I've been to three worlds.' I knew the gist of it. Once I got (prelims) out of the way, I just kind of relaxed."
 
What followed was a run of brilliance. A team gold as a fitting send-off to retiring national team coordinator Martha Karolyi. Another gold came in the all-around two days later. Biles' her score of 62.198 bettered Raisman by more than two full points. Think of it as the gymnastics equivalent of winning a football game by three touchdowns. A third gold came on vault, the first ever by an American woman at the Olympics and Biles' first in major international competition to fill the only hole in her increasingly peerless resume.
 
A bronze on beam followed, thanks to a messy landing on a front flip. It was her only major form break in Rio. No matter, she put the exclamation point on her gold rush with a gravity-escaping floor routine. When it ended, Biles rushed to embrace longtime coach Aimee Boorman.
 
The ensuing four months have been a whirlwind. Biles carried the U.S. flag at Rio's closing ceremonies. She published her autobiography. She took part in a post-Olympic tour with her teammates (including performing in eight shows despite a fractured rib). And she hung out at the White House with the president. She remains open to giving it another shot at the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
 
But that's for later. In January, she'll sit down and plot out her goals for the upcoming year. For the first time since she can remember, gymnastics won't be on the list.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
What did the author mean by saying “The uneven bars still uneven?”
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (136)
  • adamk-smi
    1/10/2017 - 09:17 a.m.

    The author is saying that the uneven bars are still uneven stating that everything is the same for Simon biles its just like a regular gymnastics meet.

  • irisp-ste
    1/10/2017 - 11:16 a.m.

    The reference to the never bars refers to one of the gymnastic routines. The bars are not at the same level, one is raised higher than the other. In the article, it does not mean anything out of the ordinary, but a reference gymnasts will understand.

  • nataliah-goa
    1/11/2017 - 09:39 a.m.

    The author mean by saying''The uneven bars still uneven was that if you don't keep balance you might fall down and something bad would happen.According to the text''the uneven bars still uneven is the balance beam still a for-inch wide test of nerves''.so now you know the uneven bars still uneven means you are so nerves.

  • jnyahp-bur
    1/11/2017 - 12:48 p.m.

    She means that things have stayed the same and the uneven bars- a tool gymnast use to perform tricks on- have not changed just like the other things she listed. Simone Biles has accomplished so much between the Olympics and now!

  • annakatew-bur
    1/11/2017 - 12:53 p.m.

    The author probably meant that nothing has really changed with equipment and that the only thing that has changed is Simone's talent. I think this because the author also says,"The floor was still the floor. The vault was still the vault." I can relate to this story because I play softball and going on the field and playing is a lot different then practicing and it can be nerve racking, but you end up just playing and not worrying about it.

  • jasmina-bur
    1/11/2017 - 12:57 p.m.

    When the author of Samone Biles Soars to AP athlete of the year said in his passage "The uneven bars still uneven?", I think he was trying to say that Biles was acting like a normal meet is kind of like the olympics. Her statment when she said "It was kind of a blur." brought him to this opinion.

  • khadijan-bur
    1/11/2017 - 12:58 p.m.

    I think the author meant by that was that every thing was still the same from back then to now but she is the best in the world considering every body had the same level or easiness and the same level of hardness.

    This passage relates to me because it shows how you can be the best at anything if you work hard enough to the pint where it can shock even you that you completed as Simone Biles Herself said.

  • pkate-dav
    1/11/2017 - 09:51 p.m.

    In the article, "Simone Biles soars to AP Female Athlete of the Year", in paragraph two it states, "The uneven bars still uneven." This means that no matter how many times you fall, how bad you fall, nothing will change the uneven bars. This was easy for me to relate to because i'm a gymnast and uneven bars is my favorite event. I can't even count how many times I have fallen or gotten hurt! But no matter what happens, Simone Biles gets right back up and takes the gold. Every meet the nerves rush to her head, especially on bars, but she never lets it get the best of her.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    1/12/2017 - 01:15 p.m.

    The author was just trying to show how everything is still how it was before. I think she deserved all the fame because she worked very hard.

    • codyp-kul
      1/16/2017 - 11:37 a.m.

      I agree with this girl. She does deserved all the fame because she did work very hard. Simone Biles is a great athlete that goes for gold.

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